A Carlisle dad told a witness in a police investigation: “If you don’t drop the charges on my son, I’m going to cut your head off.”

Details of Steven John Garner’s outburst emerged at the city’s crown court after he admitted an intimidation charge arising out of a “chance encounter”.

Police pursued the prosecution with the help of a secret recording made by the victim, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

It provided clear evidence of a threatening comment that the defendant made to his victim.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, told his sentencing hearing: “The background to the case is that the son of Steven Garner was involved in an investigation by the police in which Simon Hogg - the complainant in the current matter - had given a statement.

At around lunchtime on January 27, Mr Hogg found himself walking along Stanhope Road with his 12-year-old nephew, close to Garner’s home.

Garner junior, said Mr Rogerson, “sensibly got in off the street and went into the house”.

But Garner senior, a 55-year-old long-distance lorry driver, called out to Mr Hogg: “If you don’t drop the charges on my son, I’m going to cut your head off.”

After walking his nephew to a house, Mr Hogg came back out.

“He activated the recording function on his mobile phone,” said Mr Rogerson.

Garner commented: “I’m coming for you, boy.”

“There is an audio recording of that comment,” the prosecutor said.

Police were alerted but, when interviewed, Garner denied knowing who Mr Hogg was and said he hadn’t committed the offence.

Garner told a probation officer he hadn’t intended to carry out any threats made.

“He said he was ashamed of himself.

He said he had gone too far,” that officer told the court.

“He feels he has let down his family, including his son, who in a manner he was trying to protect.”

Garner had a nine-month jail term suspended for a year by Judge James Adkin, and must complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.